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Full text of "Virginia Wildlife"

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CONTENTS 



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28 AFIELD AND AFLOAT 

32 OIL llic Leash • 33 IMiolo Tijis • 34 Diniii- In • 35 2011 li.dcx 

ABULir niL CU\LR: (.ra\ .s<|iiinvl. Sh.rx oji pa-c K). '; Bill l.cii 




BOB DLIXCAX 
Executive Director 




www. wsfr75.com 




Thanks to the support of sportsmen and women of Virginia 
through hunting license sales and matching federal dollars, 
our Department owns 39 wildlife management areas (WMAs) en- 
compassing more than 203,000 acres. Located across the Old Do- 
minion, these properties provide public access for wildlife-related 
recreation. Not unlike many other state wildlife agencies, what we 
had been missing until recently was reliable information about who 
actually uses our WMAs and how they feel about our management 
practices. 

In 2009, our staff began working with researchers at Virginia 
Tech to complete a study of WMA users. More than 4,000 face-to- 
face interviews were conducted to glean public input on our man- 
agement principles and goals for these important wildlife areas. 
Focus group meetings were followed by workshops held statewide. 
Goals were then drafted and made available for public comment, 
and 128 folks took time to share their thoughts. 

Several things are apparent from this public input. WMA 
users support and enjoy our network of public lands. Visitation 
ranged from over 15,000 recreational use days (measuring number 
of visitors/day) at our Chickahominy WTvIA to nearly 1 0,000 days 
at the George Thompson WMA. The Chickahominy features a 
very popular sighting-in range, while G. Thompson displays a no- 
table population of wildflowers that attract waves of visitors each 
spring. Overall satisfaction with our wildlife management areas is 
quite high, and it is interesting that the use of these areas is fairly di- 
verse. The biggest single use of WMAs — himting — came in at 26 
percent of those surveyed. Thirty percent utilize the sighting-in 
ranges available at 6 WMAs, 14 percent fish at WMAs, and the re- 
maining 30 percent visit to enjoy a range of activities, from wildlife 
watching to hiking. 

When asked, about half of those surveyed support the concept 
of paying to access these properties. That validates the board s recent 
action to adopt an access fee, or a means by which those who enjoy 
the WMAs but don't buy a hunting, fishing, or trapping license, or 
have a registered boat can in fact contribute to the cost of" maintain- 
ing these wonderful public spaces. That access fee goes into effect 
on January 1,2012 and can be purchased as a daily or annual pass. 

Another important finding of the study: Most people under- 
stand and appreciate the management practices required to create 
or maintain forest, farm, and wetlands habitats that support healthy 
wildlife populations. Nearly three-quarters of survey respondents 
support active timber management to improve habitats and about 
the same number support the use of prescribed burns (not wildfire) 
to reduce fuel loads or to encourage and stimulate the growth of de- 
sired vegetation. 

With eight million citizens now calling our great common- 
wealth home, WMAs will become increasingly indispensable as 
places where folks can connect with wildlife. 1 applaud our stafl and 
Virginia Tech researchers for taking a scientific approach to gather- 
ing data from which to develop goals and principles for managing 
these areas. Its not all that surprising to me, but it sure feels good to 
have approached it the right way. 



MISSION STATCMENT 

To manage Virginia^ wildlife and inland tisli co maintain optimum populations of all species lo serve the needs ol the Commonwealth; To 
provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating and related outdoor recreation and to work diligently to safeguard the rights 
of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided for in the Constitution of Virginia; To promote safety for persons and property in 
connection with boating, hunting and fishing; To provide educational outreach programs and materials that foster an awareness of and appre- 
ciation for Virginia's fish and wildlife resources, their habitats, and hunting, fishing, and boating opportunities. 

Dedicated to the (>onservation of Virginia's Wildlife and Natural Resources 



\'()[.(1MI- 72 



NllMBIR 12 



COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA 
Bob McDonnell, Governor 

HLINTING & FISHING 
LICENSE FEES 

Subsidized this publication 

StCRi;TAR\- OF NATURAL RESOURCES 
Douglas W. Domenech 

DEPARTMENT OF GAME AND 

INLAND FISHERIES 

Bob Duncan 

Executive Director 

MEMBERS OF TFIE BOARD 

Lisa Caruso, Church Road 
J. Brent Clarke, III, Great Falls 
Curtis D. Colgate, Virginia Beach 
James W. Hazel, Oakton 
Randy J. Kozuch, Alexandria 
Mary Louisa Pollard, Irvington 
F. Scott Reed, Jr., Manakin-Sabot 
Leon O. Turner, Fincastle 
Charles S. Yates, Cleveland 

MAGAZINE STAFF 

Sally Mills, Editor 

Lee Walker, Ron Messina, Julia Dixon, 

Contributing Editors 
Emily Pels, Art Director 
Carol Kushlak, Production Manager 

Printing by Progress Printing, Lynchburg, VA. 

Virginia Wildlife (ISSN 0042 6792) is pulilislicd niomhli 
by the Virginia Depariment of Game and Inland Fisheries 
Send all subscription orders and address changes to Virgint; 
Wildlife, P. O, Box 830, Boone, Iowa 50036. Address al 
other communications concerning this publication to Vir- 
ginia Wildlife, P. O. Box 1 1 104, 4010 West Broad Street 
Richmond, Virginia 23230-1104. Subscription rates art 
$12.95 for one year, $23.95 for two years; $4.00 per caci 
back issue, subject to availabilir)'. Out-of-country rate i: 
$24.95 for one year and must be paid in U.S. funds. No re- 
funds for amounts less than $5.00. lo subscribe, call toll- 
free (800) 710-9369. POSTMASTER: Plea,se send al 
address changes to Virginia Wildlife, PO. Box 830, Boone 
Iowa 50036. Postage for periodicals paid at Richmond, Vir 
ginia and additional entry offices. 

Copyright 201 1 by the Virginia Department of Cime am 
Inland Fisheries. All rights reserved. 

Ihe Department of Game and Inland Fisheries shall afFon 
to all persons an equal access to Department programs ami 
facilities without regard to race, color, religitin, national ori 
gin, disabilit)', sex, or age. If you believe that you have beei 
discriminated against in any program, activity or facilit) 
please write to: Virginia Department of Game and Inlam 
Fisheries, ATTN: Compliance Officer, (4010 West Broi 
Street.) P O. Box 1 1 104, Richmond, Virginia 23230-1 10' 

'Iliis publication is intended for general informational pui 
poses only and every effort has been made to ensure its at 
curacy. Tlie information contained herein docs not serve « 
a legal representation of fish and wildlife laws or regulation 
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries doi 
not a.ssume responsibility lor any change in dates, reguli 
rions, or information that may occur after publication. 



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.On the Front Lines 
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by Clarke C.Jones 

It was 1 :30 in the morning. On a seclud- 
ed country road in southwestern Vir- 
ginia, a Conservation Police Officer sat 
in his SUV and sipped cold coffee in the mid- 
dle of an even colder night. It was late Decem- 
ber. The drizzling rain had stopped and the 
temperature had dropped, making a miser- 
able night even more so. The officer had re- 
ceived a complaint from a landowner that 
someone had been seen spotlighting deer on 
his property. He noticed headlights gradually 
coming into view. 

In this remote part ol Virginia, most 
people were early-to-bcd and early-to-rise 
and rarely did he see a car after midnight. He 
noted the two-tone pickup truck as it slowly 
drove by. The CPO was well hidden, and 
both occupants in the truck were focusing on 
the field across from where he was parked. A 
few minutes later, headlights appeared again. 
It was the same truck. It slowed a bit, then 
crept forward, then stopped. Suddenly, a 
large light shone onto the field. 



Instantly, the officer switched on his ig- 
nition and flashing lights. In the glare of his 
headlights, he could see the driver had a 
dumbfounded look on his face. The CPO 
waited in his car for a few seconds and 
watched the driver's face closely. He knew in- 
stinctively what the driver was thinking and 
he hoped the driver wasn't foolish — or des- 
perate — enough to try to escape. Tliis was the 
difficult part of a CPO's job. Was he de;ding 
with just plain stupidity or a violator with a 
criminal history who might try anything to 
prevent an arrest? 

Not everything is high drama in the day 
and night of a Virginia Conservation Police 
Officer — still known in some parts as Game 
Wardens. But Virginia's CPOs are the ones 
on the front lines. It is their responsibilit)' to 
enforce conservation game laws and provide 
for public safety. Aside from checking boat- 
ing, fishing, and hunting licenses, what 
(TOs do in the daily performance of their 
jobs is pretty much a guess to most. In redity, 
a great deal of time is spent in surveillance, ev- 
idence gathering, investigations, court prepa- 
ration, and lots of paperwork. However, 



CPOs will be the first to admit that just be- 
cause you have done all these things to the 
best of your ability to present your case, don't 
expect that things will go your way. Physical 
proof of a crime does not mean a conviction. 
A recent case, which was handled by Vir- 
ginia Conservation Police Officers Josh 
Wlieeler and Tony McFaddin, demonstrates 
just how complex achieving justice can be. 
"We received a tip from someone in the bear 
hunting communit)' that they had learned of 
somebody killing an underweight bear. 1 
should point out, first thing, that it is very 
helpftil when we have hunters who want to 
do things the right way and assist us with 
leads and other information," noted CPO 
Wheeler. For those who are not bear hunters, 
it may be helpful to know that in Virginia, an 
underweight bear is any bear taken weighing 
99 pounds or less. It must weigh 75 pounds 
or greater if it is dressed out when checked in. 
lb put things in perspective, it is not unusual 
for a Labrador retriever to weigh 1 00 pounds. 
The size of the reported underweight bear 
killed turned out to be approximately 17 
pounds — the size of a cocker spaniel — in 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFisfiVA.com 



other words, a bear cub. Wheeler learned that 
there may have been other cubs with the 
mother. He pointed out that cubs so young 
may not have been old enough to learn how 
to forage for themselves and therefore may 
starve or become food for larger predators. 

"We were able to get a name, and 
through the use of our database, we were able 
to get a location of the suspect," explained 
Wheeler. "After a little more research, I visited 
the home of the suspect. I pretty much knew 
where to find him but wanted to be one hun- 
dred percent sure of my information before I 
went to his house. At first he denied even 
killing a bear, much less a bear cub, but it 
turned out he not only had killed the cub but 
the sow (female) with it as well." Wheeler 
continued, "In his written statement, he said 
that he saw the sow at a distance of 75 yards, 
and in his opinion it acted aggressively when 
it saw the shooter and stood up. So he shot the 
mother bear. He stated the cub must have 
been on the mother's back when he shot, so it 
was a one-shot, two-killed scenario." 

Fast-forward a ways and a CPO learns 
that time and a defendant with a lawyer may 
change things — even though the shooter has 
already admitted to shooting a bear out of 
season. "A couple of days before the trial, we 
met with the defense attorney and the shoot- 
er's story had changed from his written testi- 
mony," related Wheeler. "He is now claiming 
that the bear was only 35 yards away and 
charging towards him with the cub holding 
onto the sow's back. Assistant Common- 
wealth's Attorney Christopher Billias, who 
wa5 representing us, felt it very important that 
both Tony and I know specific answers to spe- 
cific questions about bears and bear behavior. 
Virginia's CPOs have various degrees of 
wildlife knowledge, but we did not have the 
knowledge to answer certain specific ques- 
tions about bears, under oath. " 

It turns out that a great many people do 
not have a wealth of knowledge about bear 
behavior, nor do they know that black bears 
(the only bear native to Virginia) and grizzly 
bears react differently to humans. A person 
encountering one may need to react differ- 
ently as well. As CPO Wheeler pointed out, 
"There are a number of things we have all 
heard about bears in stories or seen in movies, 
that one generation passes to another, that is 
taken to be true, but is really not. We were 
very fortunate to have Jaime Sajecki, our 



black bear project leader for the Department, 
assist us during the trial. She not only was able 
to come on short notice," noted Wheeler, "she 
came well prepared." 

One of the things Sajecki pointed out 
was that a black bear standing on its hind legs 
when it sees something is not an aggressive 
motion. It is scenting the air to try to get a read 
as to what is out there. A human being sitting 
on the ground in the woods might stand up as 
well, if she heard something, and then start 
searching with her eyes. A bear's sense of smell 
is much stronger than its eyesight; therefore, it 
uses its nose to paint a better picture of what is 
around it. If a black bear senses danger, it will 
send its cubs up a tree. The paws and claws of a 
black bear are shaped differently than those of 
a grizzly bear, making black bears excellent 
tree climbers — even the adults. 

As CPO McFaddin pointed out, 
"Jaime's expert testimony directly and instant- 
ly refuted the defendant's silly testimony that 
the bear was charging him with a cub on its 
back. I just don't think we would have had the 
same results from the court without Jaime's 
participation," said McFaddin. "She educated 
us, the lawyers, and the judge about black 
bears, and this knowledge that she provided 
helped ;tll of us understand the difference be- 
tween black bear facts and black bear myths." 

Jaime Sajecki has been focusing on bears 
since 2001 and has been with the DGIF since 
2007. When asked about the trial, she replied, 
"I think there were two important outcomes. 
One, all the hard work, evidence gathering, 
court preparation, and investigation paid off. 
Two, I think it sends a message to people who 
break the law and try to plead ignorance or 
just be untruthful that we have competent, in- 
telligent people across the board and on our 
staff throughout the Department, who will 
work together with our attorney. It was good 
to see that the judge recognized the inconsis- 
tencies and that the defendant was not telling 
the truth." 

Sajecki recommends Linda Masterson's 
book. Living With Bears, as a very good re- 
source for learning about bear behavior and 
the dos and don'ts if you happen upon one. "I 
find that people really like bears and do not 

CPOs have many tools at their disposal 
that help them enforce game laws. But 
nothing compares with a good tip offered 
by a neighbor or fellow sportsman. 



want to see them harmed unlawfully. They 
may not want them in their backyards, but 
they do want them safe in the bear's proper 
environment, " the biologist noted. 

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney 
Chris Billias had high praise for Sajecki. "She 
enlightened the court as to bear behavior, so 
that it was obvious to everyone the defen- 
dant's testimony was not probable." Billias 
also added, "We take crimes against wildlife 
very seriously in Rockbridge County, so if 
you are planning on breaking Virginia's game 
laws, you better do it someplace else! " 

A CPOs job can be frustrating and dan- 
gerous, but both Wheeler and McFaddin 
enjoy what they do. Both stated the need for 
citizen involvement in helping to ensure re- 
spect for game laws. "There is a shortcut that 
helps us both become more efficient — IN- 
FORMATION," said McFaddin. "We need 
all the information we can get from landown- 
ers, sportsmen, and citizens in our communi- 
ty. With information, we do not have to 
randomly patrol around hoping we find a 
crime in progress. Too many times we hear 
about a wildlife crime months or years later. I 
hear, 'Well, I was going to call you,' or 'I know 
you are busy,' or 'I didn't want to bother you.' 
We are here to serve the community and to 
protect our natural resources. It is not a both- 
er; that's what we do. Give us a call." ?f 

Clarke C. Jones spends his spare time with his black 
Labrador retriever, Luke, hunting up good stories. 
You can visit Clarke and Luke on their website at 
www. clarkecjones. com. 



REPORT WILDLIFE VIOLATIONS 
1-800-2 3 7-5712 




DECEMBER 2011 ♦ 




Researchers hope to buy time for the 
RARE Shenandoah salamander. 

story and photos by Gail Brown 



/here's a drama playing out in 
the Shenandoah National 
Park high above the Sk)'Iine 
Drive. There are heroes and anti-heroes and 
characters that fall somewhere in between. 
No one knows what will happen, but some 
believe things will end badly, llie areas histo- 
ry — the Shenandoah Valley, Franklin De- 
lano Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation 
Corps, Stonewall Jackson's Valley Cam- 
paign — are so much a part of the story they 
could overrun the plot. But that's a risk worth 
taking, as without the big picture it's hard to 
appreciate the value we place on our protago- 
nist, who is, after all, only a salamander — al- 
beit a rare one. Here's the story: plot, history, 
coincidences, and all. 

Tlie problem didn't start on the tops of 
three of the highest mountains in the 
Shenandoah National Park, but that's where 
the Shenandoah salamander (Plethodon 
shenandoah) scrapes by today, either in the 
vegetative cracks on their north and north- 
western talus slopes, or under logs, rocks, and 
leaf litter in the surrounding hardwood for- 
est. There, this small woodland salamander 
carries on with life as it has tor the past 5 to 1 



million years. Listed as state endangered in 
1987 and federally listed as endangered in 
1989 due to limited distribution, historic 
land use, and competition from other 
species of salamander, the Shenandoah sala- 
mander is found nowhere else in the world 
but on these mountains, and then only at el- 
evations of 3,000 feet or higher. 

One of 55 species of salamander native 
to Virginia, and one of three found nowhere 
else in the world but in Virginia, scientists 
believe a warming climate at the end of the 
Pleistocene period forced the Shenandoah 
salamander to retreat to these elevations. At 
the same time, conditions allowed its neme- 
sis, the red-backed salamander (7? cinereus), 
to extend its range. It is believed the red- 
backed salamander, which is more numer- 
ous and more aggressive, helped force the 
Shenandoah salamander back to these harsh 
slopes. Yet, flanked by the competition and 
stressed by climate change, the Shenandoiih 
sdamander, against all odds, continues to 
survive. But confinement hasn't guaranteed 
isolation or even protection for this amphib- 
ian, as people and progress simply continue 
tocome to them. 



A MOU 



Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps 
(CCC) and the construction of the Skyline 
Drive got things moving in the '30s. Trails, ac- 
cess roads, overlooks, and comfort stations 
created by the CCC with the opening of the 
Shenandoah National Park continue to bring 
the public, in ever-increasing numbers, to and 
through the salamanders' territory. But for the 
Shenandoah salamander, a lungless creature 
that depends on moisture to exchange oxygen 
and carbon dioxide through its skin, it is the 
byproducts of progress — air pollution, acid 
rain, and the consequences of climate 
change — that are far more serious issues than 
the enthusiasm of hikers enjoying the out-of- 
doors. While the establishment of the 
Shenandoah National Park offers unmatch- 
able protection to all of it's natural resources, 



8 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




isiTAiNTOP Species 



construction of the Skyline Drive may have 
divided the salamander population and re- 
duced the gene pool. Similarly construction 
of highways such as US Rt. 1 1 and US Rt. 81 
through the valley has resulted in a negative 
impact on wildlife as well as loss of farmland 
and degradation of historically significant 
landmarks. Regrettably, many of the area's 
Civil War battlefields are buried under con- 
crete, resulting in an economic as well as his- 
torical loss. In the Shenandoah, history, 
science, and economics appear inescapably 
linked, unlike in cities where either can thrive 
or die without consequence to the other. 

This past year Virginians recognized 
three anniversaries tied to the history, natural 
resources, and ultimate economic well-being 
of our commonwealth: the 75''' anniversary 



of the founding of the Virginia State Parks, 
the 75* anniversary of the Shenandoah Na- 
tional Park (SNP), and the Civil War Sesqui- 
centennial. All were major events for Virginia 
and brought people from all over the countr)' 
into our state. While many came to the SNP 
to hike in the presence of wild things, others 
came to the valley to retrace Stonewall Jack- 
son's historic Valley Campaign, which is still 
studied today by military leaders around the 
world. Jackson's goal: buy Lee some time to 
reinforce defenses around Richmond by 
keeping the eyes of the federal government on 
the valley and the Union forces involved west 
of the Blue Ridge. Jackson's firm belief "If this 
valley is lost, Virginia is lost," perhaps explains 
how he and his "foot cavalry" accomplished 
the impossible. Outnumbered 3 to I, the 




Unless at risk, salamanders are measured 
and weighed. The endangered Shenandoah 
salamander (below) is one of three found 
only in Virginia. The red-backed salamander 
(left) is numerous. 





Sevin (center) with field technicians Kasey Ewing and Matthew Storer gather data such as 
depth of leaf litter. On-site data will help researchers understand the habitat characteristics 
where Shenandoah salamanders might be found. 



Stonewall Brigade marched 646 miles in 48 
days, striking where least expected and then 
disappearing through mountain gaps. Using 
geography and stealth to their advantage, 
they kept three armies engaged in a futile 
chase up and down the valley from March to 
June. In the end, tenacity paid off, Jackson 
beat the odds, and Lee got what he needed — 
time. Today, as the historical reenactments of 
201 1 draw to a close, a battle of a difl^erent 
kind continues, mostly unnoticed, under the 
surface on three unforgiving peaks in the Blue 
Ridge. Time and geography are still key. 

Outside of Front Royal lies the northern- 
most entrance to the SNP and the Skyline 
Drive. Adjacent to the park, at the Smithson- 
ian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI), a 
team of researchers hopes to find answers in 
time to save the Shenandoah salamander. Ihe 
team — Dr. Evan Grant, coordinator of the 
USGS's northeast Amphibian Research and 
Monitoring hiitiative (ARMI), ARMI mas- 
ter's student Eric Dalhilio, Dr. Brian 
Grarwickc, Smithsonian amphibian conser- 
vation biologist, and Jennifer Sevin, Smith- 
sonian amphibian specialist — believes 
intervention may help, and the scientists re- 
main determined lo find answers before it is 
too late. I he plan: determine the best course 
ot action for management of the species and 
its habitat, gather detailed scientihc informa- 
tion that can be used to inform management 



decisions, and work closely with the Shenan- 
doah National Park resource managers to im- 
plement an adaptive management program 
for the species. Jeb WofFord, a fish and wildlife 
biologist at the Shenandoah National Park, 
states: "With large-scale threats occurring, 
such as acid deposition or climate change, 
management and preservation become very 
difficult, particularly when the focus is truly 
on the long term. With the Shenandoah Siila- 
mander, we hope that by learning how to con- 
serve and manage this rare species, the entire 
mountaintop ecosystem will benefit." In a 
time when amphibians are being lost at an 
alarming rate worldwide, and considering 
their proven value to medical research, we 
help ourselves as well when we learn how to 
protect and maintain this species. 

To that end, beginning in 2007 Sevin 
and USGS ARMI scientists monitored 1 24 
study plots located in both talus and less rocky 
areas on three of the tallest mountains, focus- 
ing on the animals' distribution, abundance, 
and habitat use. Each site was visited up to 
three times, both day and night, during 
spring, summer, and fall. A nocturnal animal, 
the best time to see the Shenandoah salaman- 
der is on rainy nights when they come out to 
forage for other invertebrates and insects such 
as flies, mites, or springtails. Sevin gathered 
extensive on-site data on air temperature, 
number of days since the last rainfall, the 



amount of moisture on rocks and other sur- 
faces, relative humidity, depth of leaf litter, 
dominant tree species and canopy cover, dis- 
tances from roads and trails, and type of talus 
present. Unless there was a risk to the animal, 
salamanders were captured, measured, and 
weighed. DNA samples were also taken to de- 
termine if hybridization is occurring with P. 
ciuereus, the red-backed salamander. Research 
indicates this does not appear to be happening 
on a large scale. In August 2008, Sevin and her 
field technicians became the first to uncover a 
nest with six Shenandoah salamander eggs, 
two hatchlings, and a mother protecting 
them. "After turning thousands of rocks and 
always hoping to find a nest site, it was ab- 
solutely amazing to see," reported Sevin. "The 
most interesting observation was the mixture 
of striped and unstriped niorphs in the same 
clutch. " Persistence paid off. 

Now what is needed is time: time to learn 
if these salamanders are susceptible to ch)T:rid- 
iomycosis (chytrid fungus, a deadly skin dis- 
ease which is killing amphibians worldwide), 
time to understand the consequences of acid 
deposition and the resulting changes in the 
hydrochemical conditions within the soil, and 
time to study the effects of defoliation, which 
occurred on a large scale when the wooly adel- 
gid attacked the park's hemlocks and the 



10 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFisfiVA.conn 




John (JD) Kleopfer, a biologist with DGIF, 
uses a Snake Eye remote camera to help 
locate these small woodland salamanders. 
Right, Jeb Wofford, SNP biologist, checks out 
a data logger set to record air temperature 
and relative humidity. 



gypsy moth destroyed the oak canopy, pre- 
venting amphibians from getting the shade 
and cooler temperatures they need. Time is 
needed to uncover additional information 
about the species' history of which, until re- 
cendy, so little has been known. To that end, 
the National Park Service, Smithsonian Con- 
servation Biology Institute, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, 
University of Virginia, and the Virginia De- 
partment of Game and Inland Fisheries are 
pooling resources and working together to 
learn about and conserve this species. An- 
swers need to be found, and found soon, if 
scientists are to implement their recovery 
plan. 

At this time, the University ot Virginias 
Dr. Stephen de Wekker (Department of En- 
vironmental Science), along with PhD stu- 
dent Temple Lee in cooperation with the 
Nadonal Park Service and SCBI ajid ARMI, 
are collecting data that will help make predic- 
tions as to how landscape factors influence 
temperature and relative humidity on the 
mountain. The ultimate goal — to determine 
how the Shenandoah salamander may re- 
spond to future climate change — ^will help 
scientists learn how to better protect all 
species. This research provides a foundation 
for reasonable hope, but there are no guaran- 
tees, especially as it is climate change that has 
been identified as one of the salamanders' 
main threats. Only one thing is sure: II this 
salamander is lost, part of Virginia's heritage 
will disappear — forever. 

While the challenge is great and the out- 
come questionable, those quick to write off^ 
these tiny survivors might want to think 
twice. On this same ground, on a far greater 
scale, over 1 50 years ago, few believed 1 8,000 
men could keep 60,000 well-supplied troops 
on the run throughout a cold, wet spring. It 
did not seem possible that half-starved men, 
many without shoes, could march up to 35 
miles a day. Yet they did. In the world under- 
foot, where life-and-death struggles of anoth- 
er kind have been grinding on for 10,000 
years, where retreat has ended on the top of 
the mountain, is there a chance the Shenan- 
doah salamander can also beat the odds? 
Some point to the smog, convinced it's al- 
ready too late. Others point to the salamander 
and see a tenacious survivor. Only one can be 
right. Only time will tell. ?f 

Gail Brown is a retired teacher and school 
administrator 




T« v--rr 



PrdtecMng noting and farming "futuri 
on their land motivmed this couple to 
choose a bonsen/ation easement. 



rAf^f- 



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■^^■i^ 5!«**.«6« 



by Tim Thornton 

Jack Leffel sat on his front porch and 
named the five mountains that defined 

the horizon: Mays, Purgatory, Sugar 
Loaf, Sheets, Rat Hole. "I have stepped on 
every foot of these mountains you see, grouse 
hunting," he said. "I have permission to hunt 
it now. But that's not going to last." 

For a long time, a timber company 
owned about 1 6,000 acres on Sugar Ix)af and 
Purgatory mountains. But now that land 
seems to change hands every couple of years 
and Lefiel is convinced that it will eventually 
be developed in one way or anothei, perhaps 



reducing wildlife habitat and certainly re- 
stricting hunters' access to the land. Leffel and 
his wife, Mary Lynne, have made sure one 
patch of Botetourt County farmland won't 
sprout a crop of houses. Four years ago, the 
Leffels put one hundred eighteen acres that 
stretch for more than a mile along the James 
River in a conservation easement — though 
I-efiel doesn't like that term. 

"I hate that word, 'easement, " he said. 
"It still m;ikes me cringe. " 

"Easement" suggests that someone has 
access to your property. And landowners "do- 
nate" conservation easements — so it sounds 
like they're giving something away for noth- 
ing. But conservation easements essentidly 



trade potential development rights for tax 
breaks; tax breaks beyond what a landowner 
can use are available to be sold to people who 
can use them. Each agreement is negotiated 
on its own, so each deal is unique, but in every 
aise the limits put on land use are permanent. 
So are the benefits, including the wildlife 
habitat that gets preserved. In the Leffels' case, 
their land won't be developed — which they 
didn't want it to be. Their children will be able 
to inherit the property. Until then, the land 
will be used just iis the Leffels want it used — 
hunting, some farming if they want, maybe 
even some timbering. Of course. Jack and 
his wife have differing ideas about how to use 
the land. 



12 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




During deer season, bucks are reserved 
for young hunters. Older deerstalkers have to 
settle for antlerless deer. Not that anyone has 
to do much stalking. Leffel has stands spread 
around the place overlooking likely deer 
haunts. And the antlerless restriction isn't 
much oi a problem, since the farm is in the 
Deer Management Assistance Program, 
which iillows a more liberal kill of anderless 
deer. 

Leffel says he's tickled with the way that 
things have worked out, but it wasn't easy to 
get here. He started investigating easements 
years ago, but gave up when he couldn't find 
answers to all of his questions. He started 
again when then-Governor Tim Kaine was 
pushing to protect four hundred thousand 

(com. p. 15) 




"She's into bird watching," Jack said. 
"I'm into grouse hunting." 

He's also into deer hunting and quail 
hunting and introducing young people to 
the outdoors. "As far as the education 
thing, we've got swamp; we've got wetland; 
we've got the river. Every ecological system 
that's in Southwest Virginia we've got rep- 
resented right here," Leffel noted. "You 
could just make it a contiguous classroom." 

"Fm really serious. I want to share it 
with the kids . . . It's to get these kids, to let 
them understand that the real world of 
wildlife and ecology and environment is re- 
ally not represented by Walt Disney. It's re- 
ally not." 



One of the things Leffel teaches is a love 
of hunting. He raises quail, keeping them 
penned to protect them from coyotes and 
other predators until someone wants to hunt. 
"I put out ten birds," Leffel explained. "You 
get to hunt ten birds. If you get three, okay. If 
you get all ten of them, that's okay, too." 



Top, Jack Lettel peers out over the James 
River at the site of a lock (below) built in 
the early 1850s to control water levels. 



DECEMBER 2011 



13 




Conservation Easement 
Benefits 

Easements are negotiated, voluntary arrangennents 
between a land trust and a landowner through which 
landowners agree to limit development or use of 
their land in exchange for tax benefits. Because con- 
servation easements benefit the public by protecting 
fresh air, clean water, wildlife habitat, and scenic 
views, the Internal Revenue Service treats them as 
gifts. Tax breaks are based on the easement's value— 
the difference between the land's market value be- 
fore and after development restrictions have been 
added. A qualified appraiser determines what these 
values are. Each conservation easement is unique. 
One landowner's conservation easement may allow 
him to retain the right to build up to two houses per 
100 acres, while another may prohibit additional 
houses but retain her right to timber some land. 

■ State tax credit: 40 percent of an easement's 
value can be used to reduce or eliminate a 
landowner's state income tax bill. The credit can 
be applied over 11 years. For instance, with an 
easement worth $60,000, the state would give 
the landowner a tax credit worth $24,000 (40 
percent of $60,000). Landowners who don't 
owe enough taxes to make that worthwhile can 
sell their tax credits. The going rate is about 80 
cents on the dollar. 

Federal tax deductions: Easements count as 
charitable donations, so an easement's value 
can reduce the amount of income taxed by up 
to 50 percent for up to 16 years. Farmers can 
deduct up to 100 percent of their adjusted gross 
income. A landowner who makes $100,000 a 
year and has an easement worth $50,000 re- 
duces his taxable income to $50,000. Unless the 
legislation is renewed, at the end of this year 
the deduction will be limited to 30 percent of 
adjusted gross income for up to five years. 

■ Estate taxes: Easements reduce the market 
value of land, which lowers —and may elimi- 
nate—estate taxes. In addition, the federal 
government exempts 40 percent of the value 
of land in a conservation easement from estate 
taxes (up to $500,000). 

■ Real estate taxes: Virginia law says property 
protected by a conservation easement auto- 
matically qualifies for that city or county's 
lowest level of land use taxation. If the city or 
county doesn't have land use taxation, then the 
law states that the government must take the 
easement into account when assessing taxes on 
the property. Typically, this has meant a reduc- 
tion in landowners' property tax bills. 

For more information: 
www.dcr.virginia.gov/land_conservation 



acres during his time as governor. Kaine visit- 
ed LeflFers farm and canoed down the James 
to film a commercial promoting Virginias 
state parks on Leffel's river side. Dozens of or- 
ganizations, generally called land trusts, can 
hold conservation easements in Virginia and 
they all have their own ideas about how ease- 
ments should be organized. Leffel kept run- 
ning into problems, in part because he 
wanted to allow his place to be cut into three 
pieces. He has three children. Many land 
trusts don't like dividing parcels because 
more divisions mean more landowners to 
deal with in the long run. There were other 
problems, too, but Leffel kept at it, looking 
for a land trust he could work with. 

He even lined up some neighbors who 
were mildly interested in putting conserva- 
tion easements on their land. If they all 
signed up, Leffel noted, about one thousand 
acres of land along the James River would 
have been protected. But the easement expert 
who came to make the pitch just didn't con- 
nect with Jack's neighbors. Before the pitch- 
man was out ot the driveway, they were 
asking him why he'd gotten involved in such 
a thing. It was, Leffel suggested, a failure to 
communicate. 

"They come out here and they say, 'It's 
your duty to do this," Leffel said. "Well, you 
just don't go tell an old farmer that. That 
sounds good in an air conditioned room in 
Roanoke, but it doesn't work out here. ... I 
think the system depends too much on the 
guy who's got a ton ol money and is strictly 
looking for the tax credit." 

Leffel thinks that's a shame, because "It's 
a dag-gone good deal for the farmers. It's 
about like having your cake and eating it, 
too." 

Eventually, Leffel found David Hurt, 
who was working for an organization allied 
Conservation Partners. "Were it not for Con- 
servation Partners, we wouldn't be having 
this conversation today. They stuck with this 
thing and they educated me a lot, " he said. "If 
there were a PhD in conservation easements, 
I would have it." 

Leffel calls Hurt the hero of this story. 
When other land trusts had turned Leffel 
down. Hurt suggested he try the Ward Bur- 
ton Wildlife Foundation. The former 
NASCAR driver's foundation liked Leffel's 
plan, so Leffel's conservation easement was fi- 
nally filed just two days before 2007 ended. 
And he's still happy about it. 




Top, leaving undergrowth and grasses to grow on large swaths of his land has improved 
habitat for upland game birds and other species. Here, scenic views of the James are now 
protected through the Leffels' conservation easement. Opposite, Jack plants sorghum (milo) 
in several fields. It is much cheaper than corn and offers good cover for ground-nesting birds. 



"I could not be happier. . . . I'm doing 
everything I want to do or would anticipate 
doing with the hmd," Leffel remarked. 

The Botetourt landowner may have 
been able to do all those things without a con- 
servation easement — though he may have 
done it with a little less money in his pock- 
et — but, in that case, who knows what would 
have happened to the land after Leffel was 
gone? Now it's clear the land will remain good 



habitat for game anim;ils and the people who 
hunt them. And it's clear why Leffel stuck 
with it so long. 

"Because, dag-gone it, I wanted to pre- 
serve this place," he said. "Bottom line, I'm 
tickled to death." ?f 

Tim Jiwrnton is a Montgomery County, MD, writer whose 
work hits earned the Phillip D. Reed Memorial Award for 
Outstanding Writing on the Southern Environment and 
recognition from the Society of Environmental Journalists. 



DECEMBER 2011 ♦ 15 



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story and photos 
by Bruce Ingram 



When fellow high school teacher Jackie 
Collins asked me last fall if I would take her 
squirrel hunting, I experienced a flashback. It 
was 1985 and I was a 33-year-old who had 
never been hunting. I contacted both friends 
and acquaintances, and no one would take 
me afield. The most common reasons for 
their refiisals were that they were too busy or 
that there was not enough game on their vari- 
ous properties (or the ones they had permis- 
sion to hunt) to share with a novice like me. 

Recalling that bitter memory, 1 prompt- 
ly told my Lord Botetourt HS co-worker that 
I would be thrilled to take her afield as soon as 
she passed a hunter education course. When 
Jackie did so, she again dropped by my room 
and fiirther explained her reasons for wanting 
to learn more about this pastime. 

"My husband doesn't hunt and two of 
our tour kids, Abby and Josh, are really inter- 
ested in the outdoors," she explained. "I think 
hunting would be a good way for them to 
learn more about the environment." 

1 told Jackie that on her first outing I 
would take just her, but on following ones we 
could include Abby and Josh. Here is how I 
approached the opportunit)' to mentor her. 

Hunting Clothec, 
Shooting lactics, and Mors 

When Collins, clad in blue jeans and a light 
overcoat, arrived at my family's Botetourt 
County home on a cold Saturday afternoon 
in mid-Ianuary, the first thing I noticed was 
how inappropriately she was dressed. Once 
again, as someone who didn't have a hunting 
mentor, I suffered a negative flashback to the 
time I went afield in jeans and a light jacket 
and a heavy November rain began to fall. By 



ultSquirrdHuntin. 




Left, stand hunting is a great tactic when 
afield In the January woods, especially if 
you have a squirrel call handy. Here, Elaine 
Ingram helps Collins move into shooting 
position. 

the time I returned to my vehicle, I was on the 
verge of hypothermia. 

I explained to Jackie that cotton clothes 
were alright on sunny September or June out- 
ings for silvertails, but given cotton's propen- 
sity to hold moisture, it was taboo at any 
other time. The Spanish teacher then told me 
she had not yet purchased a gun and asked to 
borrow mine tor the day. My wife Elaine tu- 
tored Jackie on where the safety switch on my 
20-gauge Remington autoloader was and 
how to load shells and safely fire; the duo then 
headed out for a target shooting session. Jack- 
ie beamed when she recorded a number of 
pellets in the kill zone. Finally, Elaine showed 
Jackie how simple it is to use a bellows-style 
squirrel call. 

Next it was time to venture afield on our 
29-acre spread. Jackie and I went over the two 



main hundng tactics — stand and still hunt- 
ing — and I explained how the bushytails' 
food sources influenced where these animals 
would be located. The white and red oak 
acorn crop had long since been depleted, but 
gray squirrels had been foraging where a red 
cedar thicket bordered a hardwood cove, so 
that's where we took a stand. 

However, an hour of sitting resulted in 
no game being spotted, so I suggested that we 
still hunt through a pine grove on the other 
side of the property. Jackie quickly grasped 
the concept of slowly still hunting through 
the woods, and both of us later froze when a 
gray began munching on pine cones about 40 
yards away. 

For five long minutes, Collins and I 
inched toward the creature, closing the gap to 



20 yards. She looked at me and I whispered, 
"Close enough. Shoot when you're sure you 
have a good shot. " 

Several more minutes passed. Jackie 
fired, the silvertail fell to the ground, she 
squealed, I screamed. I haven't heard that 
much racket while squirrel hunting since, 
well, since I killed my first squirrel. Our last 
lesson for the day was a demonstration on 
how to clean a bushytail, and Elaine shared a 
favorite squirrel casserole recipe. 

Flora and Fauna, 
'Brin^in^the Kids Alon^ 

Inclement weather resulted in our having to 
cancel two more January days afield, but 
when the spring squirrel season opened in 




"You did great!" Elaine tells Jackie during their shooting practice. The newspaper serves as an 
effective, and cheap, target— used here in front of an oak stump. 



DECEMBER 2011 ♦ 17 




Basic Checlctet of Sqairrd Wanting Gear 

1 . Polypro or other synthetic underwear from light to heavy 

2. Camo clothing and blaze orange hat and vest 

3. Shotgun and high brass No. 6 shells. I recommend a 20 gauge if an individual 
just plans to pursue small game. But if a person feels that he or she might 
eventually want to go afield for big game, a 12 gauge will be appropriate for 
everything from squirrels and rabbits to deer and turkeys. 

4. Squirrel call 

5. Seat cushion 

6. Knife: a lockback or fixed blade with a sheath 

7. Hearing protection. I always wear hearing protection when target shooting 
and hunting. 

6. Audubon field guides on trees, birds, mammals, among others: 

http://marketplace.audubon.org/products/Audubon%20Books 

'^. DGIF's video, "Squirrel Skinning Quick and Easy": 

www3. dgif.virginia.gov/estore/proddetail. asp?prod=VW255 



June, Jackie, seventh grader Abby, and first 
grader Josh came along for an outing. First, 
Jackie showed them how mama loads a 20 
gauge, and then I made the day's major an- 
nouncement: "Let's go eat some squirrel 
food!" 

llie kids looked dubious but when I 
brought them in turn to a raspberry thicket 
and a trio of mulberry trees, all of us found 
"squirrel food" to be quite tasty. We subse- 
quently checked out patches of May apples 
and gooseberries, and I explained that both 
menu items were unpalatable to wild animals 
and humans. 

It was then that the most exciting event 
of the Jime morning occurred. Josh spotted a 
squirrel moving across the forest floor, and 
right behind the animal was a turkey hen and 
her poults. Obviously, no shot was possible. 



18 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ w/w/w. HuntFishVA.com 




Jackie and Abby Collins make note of a 
mulberry tree that the author has pointed 
out. Mulberries are a classic menu item for 
squirrels in June. 



so for the next ten minutes we listened intently 
to turkey talk. 

I next explained to everyone that we 
would ease out of the area so we wouldn't dis- 
rupt the activities of the mother hen and her 
young offspring. We were venturing to anoth- 
er part of the property to do some tree ;md 
songbird identification. On the way, we en- 
countered a turkey dusting bowl, and I dis- 
cussed how turkeys coat themselves with dust 
so as to lessen the aggravation from mites and 
other parasites. 

Abby was fascinated that birds such as 
phoebes and Eastern wood peewees sing their 
own names (fee-be and pee-weeeee, respec- 
tively), that a male scarlet tanager sings like a 
robin with a sore throat, that tufted titmice 



and Carolina chickadees are birds of a differ- 
ent feather that flock together, and that two 
species of white (white, chinquapin) and 
three species of red (Northern red, scarlet, 
black) oaks live on such a small spread and 
that squirrels eat all of their acorns come au- 
tumn. Josh requested more squirrel food — a 
demand easily granted. Finally, I gave Abby a 
homework assignment to google up all the 
birds we saw and heard that day and report 
back to me on what she learned. 

A week later, Abby, Josh, and Jackie re- 
turned for a late evening hunt, and Josh was 
dismayed to learn that the raspberry and 
mulberry crops had both been consumed. I 
explained that this was the natural order of 
things, that wineberries and blackberries 
would soon be ripening, and that forest for- 
agers like squirrels would find other things 
to consume. 

The four of us then spent the evening 
stand and still hunting, in turn, through the 
woods. I showed them how to bark like a 
bushytail — a skill that Abby proudly mas- 
tered but which caused Jackie and Josh to 
gag and all of us to laugh. As storm clouds 
began to roll in, a yellow-billed cuckoo 
began doing its cuke-cuke-cuke call and a 



gray tree frog commenced trilling. These are 
signs, I told everyone, that pioneer folks cor- 
rectly believed made a thunderstorm immi- 
nent. 

For our two June squirrel hunts, we 
glimpsed a grand total of one squirrel, but 
Jackie glowed when both children asked me if 
they could come with mama when squirrel 
season resumed in September. Of course 1 said 
yes and, given Abby s curiosity about snakes, 1 
gave her another homework assignment: re- 
search the two kinds of poisonous snakes (tim- 
ber rattlers and copperheads) that are found in 
western Virginia and the four species of turtles 
that dwell in Botetourt (box, snapping, paint- 
ed, and stinkpot). I also hinted that on our 
next excursion we might forage for two of my 
favorite autumn squirrel foods: wild black 
walnuts and mockernut hickory nuts. 

Forager or not, consider taking an adult 
squirrel hunting next year. Or even better, take 
an entire family afield. Virginias outdoors is a 
marvelous place for folks of any age. ?f 

Bruce Ingram has authored guide books on the James, 

New, Shenandoah and Rappahannock and his latest 
book is Fly and Spin Fishingjor River Smallmouths. 
For more information, contact him at 
be_ingram Qpjuno. com. 




Josh, Jackie, and Abby Collins stand hunt on the last day of the June squirrel season. 



DECEMBER 2011 ♦ 19 



Wfmmm 




•dgif 



by Travis McDaniel 



he five-mile drive from our rental house at Sandbridge on the low tide had been a 
pleasant one. I dropped the Jeep pick-up into granny-low and made a ninety-de- 
gree turn into the loose sand and up into the dunes on the entrance "road" into the 
Back Bay Wildlife Refuge headquarters. I paused on the crest of the dunes to take in the 
mesmerizing view. North and south was the unique strand of barrier islands known as the 
Great Outer Banks. Westward was Back Bay with its protected coves and marsh islands 
teeming with swans, geese and ducks by the thousands. Eastward, the vast Adantic. A brisk 
northeaster was blowing and the temperature, near freezing. 

It was December of 1 960. 1 was fresh out of college and had been in my assistant man- 
ager position for less than five months. I had been working seven days a week fi-om "can till 
can't," and it was getting old. The refuge manager, Carl Yelverton, had failed to tell me to re- 
port for work an hour before sunup, as I had done every day since the beginning of Vir- 
ginia's waterfowl season, so 1 took fiill advantage of the lapse and chose to come to work at a 
reasonable eight o'clock. 

Knowing I had to face Carl sooner than later, I drove the last few hundred yards down 
the backside of the dunes into headquarters — site of the famous Back Bay Duck Hunting 
Club of the previous century. After washing the salt and sand oft the pick-up, I strolled into 
the office as if it were any other workday. Carl reacted like I expected, only a lot worse. 

It took a few minutes for him to cool down, and then he said, "You stay in the office 
today and get all this papeiAvork done. I'll be out on the bay doing your job. " 

With that he picked up his thermos ol coffee, grabbed the spotting scope and binocu- 
lars, put on his cut-off hip boots and heavy coat, and stormed out in a huffi 

I waited a couple ol minutes and went out into the garage where maintenance man 
Rommie Waterfield, our third employee, was working. We watched as Carl pulled out of 



20 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




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the boathouse in the twin-outboard powered cabin boat, Honker, and headed 
toward Redhead Bay. 

"What's bothering him?" Rommie asked. 

"He's mad about me not being in the marsh watching hunters at 5 this 
morning. At least there won't be anyone to bug me when I have to check the 
manuals to figure out how to do these endless government reports. " 

Rommie and I later lunched in the garage, with me prodding him to tell 
more stories of the market hunting days of his father's era — when their only 
means of getting ducks and geese to markets in Norfolk was a two-day round 
trip by horse and wagon. And also of his own youth spent in the same Spartan 
conditions in the remote beach community of Wash Woods, and of his father's 
chidings when young Rommie wasted the cost of a shotgun shell by missing a 
Canada goose intended for the pot. 

We were on the Game and Fish Commission's radio frequency, and I heard 
plenty of traffic between wardens all day, but nary a peep out of Carl. Intermit- 
tent rain and sleet came and went. The temperature continued to fall. It was late 
when I finished in the office and went outside to talk with Rommie. 

"Heard anything from Carl?" he asked. 

"Not a word. What do we do?" 

Rommie rubbed his arms briskly, looked out at the bay, and said, "It's get- 
ting colder. Wouldn't be surprised if the bay freezes. Let's hang around until we 
know something." 

"Looks like he'd have radioed if he had trouble, " I said. 

"You know Carl. He'd rather lose an arm than ask for help. / t , , 

^ (cont. p. 25) 



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Visitor Contact 


\ 




Station fJ3 






O 


Long 




'^ 


Island 


X 


■7. 



'^'" 



1 MOOSE 

\ ISLAND POINT 

KfDHEAD BAY 


> LITTLE NARROWS O L.J Wash 

1 *^'='-'^ 


DRUM POINT y' 
BACK BAY y^ 
BOAT RAMP h^' 


\ 


PROCLAMATION 
WATERS 


Beasly Tract b^^K BAY 






Whitehurst Marsh 




BourborsHIII 
, Boat Dock 



Map courtesy of Lenee Pennington. Background 
image ©Dwight Dyke 



DECEMBER 2011 ♦ 21 



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©Travis McDaniel 




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22 



©Travis McDaniel 



FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE AREA 

Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge 
1324Sandbridge Rd. 
Virginia Beach, VA 23456 
(757) 301-7329 

www.fws.gov/backbay/index.html 
Includes detailed maps of trails and hunting 
zones, information on habitat improvements, 
an events calendar, and much more. 

Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail, Coastal Trail 
www.dgif.vi rginia.gov/vbwt/loop. asp?trail=l& 
loop^CSY 

Princess Anne Wildlife Management Area 
www.dgif.virginia.gov/wmas/detail. asp?pid=8 

False Cape State Park 
www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/fal.shtml 



Carl's wife, Kate, came running out of 
the house about dark, hollering that she had 
heard Carl on the radio monitor calling us. 
We rushed into the office and called Carl back 
on the base unit. 

"Back Bay Base to Back Bay 17! Carl, 
where are you?" 

A barely audible voice, reminiscent of a 
cold child with a quivering chin, responded. 
He didn't go into much detail, just something 
about a trodine which fouled the boat's pro- 
pellers, and that he was aground on a sandbar 
off die Wash Flats. 

We sent Kate for a thermos of hot coffee 
while Rommie and I collected our rescue gear. 
After putting on heavy coats, hip boots, and 
foul-weather gear, we were ready. 

"You take the wheel," Rommie said. 

I snapped back, "You're not in the 
Marines any more, Rommie. Carl made me 
your supervisor but that doesn't mean I know 
more than you. You know every cove, sand- 
bar, and marsh point from here to Currituck 
Sound. You get behind the wheel. I'll untie 
the boat. " 

He didn't argue. 

Once clear of the boathouse, Rommie 
throttled the 35-hp Johnson up as fast as he 
dared. The bay was choppy, iind the sixteen- 
foot speedboat had no windshield. Each swell 
we hit sent water over the bow, drenching us. 
The spray froze on our rain gear, and our 
movements sent trickles of ice particles into 
the bottom of the cedar plank boat, like pieces 
of an icy puzzle. 

"I can't see a thing with this spray hitting 
us in the face, Rommie. I don't see how you 
can tell where you're going." He never said a 
word, but 1 noticed a momentary half-smile 
before he hunched his neck down deeper into 
his coat, set his jaw atid turned forward again, 
peering into the inky chasm ahead. 

This was a classic market hunting area 
back in the old days. Every cove, island, 
peninsula, or indent of marsh had been 
named by predecessors of long ago. Historic 
names like "Mink Bank Bend," "Red-Head 
Bay," "Blue Peter Bay," and "North Point" 
told their own stories. 

Carl said he was aground "ofT the Wash 
Flats, in South Bay." That was a big area to 
cover, but Rommie's knowledge of water 
depths and sand bar locations narrowed the 
search area considerably. WTien he finally 



throttled back, I swung the flashlight in a 
wide arc. Carl flashed back, not a hundred 
yards away. I wasn't surprised Rommie hit it 
dead on the nose. First try too. 

Rommie cut the motor and I tipped it 
up. We almost made it to the grounded boat 
before we drug bottom and hopped out. Carl 
quickly dismissed inquires about his condi- 
tion. With few words exchanged, we moved 
everything of value into the speedboat — 
binoculars, spotting scope, oars, and the 
heavy, two-way radio. 

Pulling the Honker off the sandbar 
would have been easy in the daytime, but 
under these circumstances it was out of the 
question. If the bay froze thick enough and 
later broke up on a strong north wind, the 
Honker could be destroyed by moving ice. 
But we had no choice. We threw out the an- 
chor and left: her grounded there, not know- 
ing if we'd ever see the workhorse of our 
three-boat fleet in one piece again. 

After pushing off the sandbar we point- 
ed the speedboat's bow northward toward 
headquarters and warm clothes. Carl was 
shivering and extremely chilled but refused to 
wrap up in the sleeping bag. But he wasn't 
above chugging the hot coffee we brought 
along. 

After unloading our gear at the boat- 
house we headed for the garage and a relieved 
wife, bundled up and waiting in the cold for 
her husband. In the garage Carl leaned 
against the wall, pulled off each boot and 



emptied out about a pint of chilled water. 
After that he told us how he had run the 
Honker over a trotline some fisherman had 
not marked very well with the required buoys. 
The twin outboard motors ground to a halt as 
the trotline fouled each prop. He described 
how he had dlted both motors out of the 
water and tried to cut the tangled mess free 
with his knife. Strong winds blew him onto a 
sandbar before he knew it. (I didn't ask why he 
didn't throw out an anchor once the motors 
were disabled and the boat began drifting.) 

Once aground on the bar, the boat was 
much steadier and Carl was making good 
progress cutting free the garbled mess. Then 
he dropped his knife overboard! Desperate, he 
stepped into the shallow water to grope 
around for his knife. Unfortunately, this is 
where his favored "cut-off' hip boots proved 
to be a liability. It wasn't long before they were 
overtopped with icy water. By the time he 
gave up trying it was almost dark. That's when 
he finally radioed for help. 

Carl was a man of few words, and he 
made no comments about the rescue. But to 
me, Rommie's calm demeanor and skill in 
finding Carl in freezing temperatures, during 
a howling northeaster on a moonless night 
was nothing short of heroic. ?f 

Travis H. McDaniel was a biologist and National 
Wildlife Refuge manager with the USF&WS prior to 
his retirement. He is now a freelance writer living in 
Big Canoe in the North Georgia mountains. 




r miw**^ 



DECEMBER 201 1 ♦ 23 




Wild In The 



by Suzanne Ramsey 



Blackwater Creek 

Natural Area draws a 

rich assortment of 

wildlife, right in 

downtown Lynchburg. 



Early in the fall, a friend and I went 
for a run in the Blackwater Creek 
Natural Area, a 300-acre linear 
greenway located in the heart of the city of 
Lynchburg. We run there often, usually opt- 
ing for the single-track trails that follow die 
creek from which the park gets its naine. 

It's an area that, if you're lucky and 
watchful, is a good place to spot wildlife. 



That autumn afternoon, as my friend 
and I loped down the trail, likely chatting 
about cooking or simply enjoying the chang- 
ing leaves, we were stopped in our tracks by a 
deer the likes of which we'd never before en- 
countered in the park. 

The buck stood to the left of the trail, no 
more than 20 feet away from us. We stared at 
him; he stared at us. We counted the points 



24 VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.conn 




City 



on his sizeable rack. There were ten. I would 
later describe him as looking like something 
out of a Nature documentary: a stag with a 
broad chest and regal posture. 

Then, with a bit of a snort as if to bid us 
farewell or good riddance, he was gone. And 
so were we, continuing our run and feeling 
luckier than usual to have the Blackwater 
Creek Natural Area virtually in our backyards. 



Left, a runner enjoys the Blackwater Creek Bikeway. White-tailed bucks and does are a common 
sight In the park and throughout the city. To help control populations, Lynchburg participates in 
the Urban Archery Deer Season. 



The urban park is managed by the Hill 
City, and popular with both locals and visi- 
tors. On warm afternoons, it teems with run- 
ners, cyclists, walkers, and hikers. Sometimes 
it can even be difficult to find a parking spot 
at the Ed Page entrance on Langhorne Road, 
one of several access points to the property. 

In addition to the more rugged — albeit 
nicely maintained — single track, the Black- 
water Creek Natural Area boasts miles of 
paved and gravel paths. One of these thor- 
oughfares is the Blackwater Creek Bikeway, 
an asphalt trail that is part of the greater James 
River Heritage Trail. 

The James River Heritage Trail winds its 



way through several parks managed by 
Lynchburg Parks and Recreation. After pass- 
ing through the Blackwater Creek Natural 
Area it continues through the downtown his- 
toric district and across the James River into 
Amherst County. 

The bikeway was once a rail bed for the 
Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, Lynch- 
burg's first rail line. According to Doug Har- 
vey, director of the Lynchburg Museum 
System, construction on the railroad began in 
1 850 and was completed by 1 856. 

The Virginia and Tennessee transported 
goods between Lynchburg and Bristol, Ten- 
nessee, including iron ore, coal, salt, grain-, 

DECEMBER 20n ♦ 25 





Top, this stunning cardinal is just one of 
many native birds tliat frequent the area. 
Trail work continues at this very popular 
urban park. 

wheat, and tobacco. During the Civil War, it 
brought Confederate troops, supplies, and 
weapons, as well as wounded soldiers to 
Lynchburg hospitals. 

"One of the coolest things around, " 
Harvey said, is a tunnel built for the railroad 
in the early 1 850s. The 450-foot-long tunnel 
is located a little more than two miles down 
the Blackwater Creek Bikeway from the Ed 
Page entrance. 

Workers, mainly Irish immigrants and 
slaves, built the tunnel by hand — drilling 
with hand tools, setting oft black powder ex- 
plosives, and then digging some more, Har- 
vey said. It was dangerous, sometimes deadly, 
work and "progress was often measured in 
inches per day." 



In 1983, the railroad abandoned the 
tracks and deeded them to the city. The tun- 
nel was eventually paved and outfitted with 
ceiling lights so that trail users could gain safe 
passage. 

In addition to the natural area's histori- 
cal significance, it is also part of the Virginia 
Birding and Wildlife Trail. This designation 
prompted a call to Thelma Dalmas, an or- 
nithologist who has written a bird-watching 
column for the local newspaper for three 
decades. 

I met her at the Ed Page entrance one 
February morning, and even if she hadn't in- 
troduced herself, it would not have been hard 
to pick her out of a lineup. 

The former Longwood University biol- 
ogy professor wore a gray sweatshirt with 
"Bird Watcher" and several different species 
of birds embroidered on the front. That and 
the binoculars hanging around her neck were 
a dead giveaway. 

After introductions, she handed me a 
checklist of native birds and off we went 
down the trail, the packed snow crunching 
under our boots. 

Almost immediately, Dalmas set about 
identifying birds, as often by sound as by 
sight. "All birds have a number of calls," she 
said, explaining that sometimes a cardinal 
says "cheer-cheer-cheer" and other times 
"birdie-birdie-birdie." 

We heard a Carolina chickadee call "fee- 
bee, fee-bee" and spied a red-bellied wood- 
pecker high atop a tree. Dalmas said she 
heard the woodpecker, which "sounds like 
he's gargling his throat," before she saw it. 
"Once I heard him call, I knew he was going 



This box turtle made its presence known 
at the park. Right, cyclists ride through a 
tunnel on the Bikeway, originally built for 
the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad 



to be up there against a trunk," she said, 
pointing to the top of a leafless tree. 

Soon after that we heard a crow and a 
blue jay, and Dalmas identified a white- 
throated sparrow. Within an hour, and only a 
half-mile from the parking lot, I'd checked off 
more than a dozen different species on my 
list, many of what Dalmas described as 
passerines or songbirds. 

The list included black and turkey vul- 
mres; red-bellied, downy, and pileated wood- 
peckers; blue jays; American crows; Carolina 
chickadees; tufted titmice; white-breasted 
nuthatches; American robins; yellow- 
rumped warblers; white- throated sparrows; 
Northern cardinals; and a red-shouldered 
hawk, which Dalmas declared the "best" bird 
sported during our outing. 

In addition to those we encountered on 
that winter morning, visitors to the natural 
area may also see (or hear) great blue herons, 
green herons, orioles, bluebirds, belted king- 
fishers, Canada geese, wood peewees, and 
other species. 

With the exception of the ubiquitous 
white-tailed deer, the park's popularity some- 
times "makes it hard to see wildlife," said 
Laura Rogers, director of The Nature Zone, a 
city-run nature center. Nevertheless, she said, 
foxes, possums, turtles, a variety of snakes, 
beaver, and even river otters have been report- 
ed. Invertebrates, on the other hand, are pret- 
ty much a guaranteed find, she said, adding, 
"Worms are cool." 



26 VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFisfiVA.com 



One summer morning, Rogers and I 
went into the natural area with the goal of 
finding animals. As we hiked, she pointed out 
maidenhair fern, mullein, soapwort, spice 
bush, and wingstem. She knelt next to a 
Christmas fern. "I have to do this every time I 
walk past a fern," she said, pointing to the 
spores on the imderside of its leaves. "This one 
is expecting. I know. It's a nerdy thing." 

But other than a box turtle discovered in 
the first few minutes of our hike, we were hav- 
ing no luck finding animals. We did find a 
bone on the trail, however. It was about six 
inches long and possibly the remains of some- 
one's chicken dinner. Perhaps humoring me, 
Rogers put it in her pocket, saying she'd identi- 
fy it back at The Nature Zone. 

A few minutes later I was deep in 
thought, wondering why someone would hike 
with a bucket of chicken, when Rogers said, 
somewhat out of the blue, "I'm a big fan of 
poop. Scat, if you're going to be scientific 
about it. I don't want to brag, but they some- 
times call me the 'poop lady'. " 

Like the bone, Rogers said, you see evi- 
dence of animals more often than the animals 
themselves. Just after saying that, she stopped 
and pointed down at several sandy mounds, 
each no bigger around than a nickel. "Earth- 
worm poo!" she said. "How exciting!" 

Whatever your motivation, spending 
time on local trails is a great way to get to know 
the character of a place as well as the wild ani- 
mals that, il not seen, are kind enough to leave 
clues about their presence. ?f 

Suzanne Ramsey lives and writes in Lynchburg, 
Virginia. 



FOR MORE INFORMATION 

The Blackwater Creek Natural Area is open from 
dawn till dusk year-round. Day use only; no 
camping allowed. For a map of the area: 
www.recreationparks.net/VA/lynchburg-city/. 

Additional information may be found here: 
www.virginia.org/Listings/OutdoorsAnd 
Sports/BlackwaterCreekNaturalAreaandTrail/ 
which notes, "Perfect for bicycling, skating, 
walking, and running activities. Within the 300- 
acre natural area is the 155-acre Ruskin Freer 
Nature Preserve, a plant and animal sanctuary. 
Maps and additional information available at 
the Visitor Center." 

For information about the Virginia Birding 
and Wildlife Trail, go to 
www.dgif.virglnia.gov/vbwt. 




DECEMBER 201 



AFIELD AND AFLOAT 



WILD ABUNDANCE 




Outdoor 
Classics 

'Bdk Htrier 



Wild Abundance; Ritual, Revelry & Recipes 
of The South's Finest Hunting Clubs 

edited by Susan Schadt, 

photography by Lisa Buser 

2010ArtsMemphis 

Color photographs 

$45.00 Liardcover 

www.wildabundancecookbook.com 

"Avid outdoorsmen and women, conservation- 
ists and hunters embrace a brand of camaraderie 
steeped in traditioti that inspires intense devo- 
tion to the Lmd and wildlife, as well as the desire 
to share it with future generations. The special 
spirit of such excursions extends beyond the hunt 
and into the clubhouses and kitchens where 
memories are made. " 

— Susan Schadt 



Take nine of the South's most distinguished 
cheh. N4atch them with the cooks, guides, 
and ckib managers who, as Ms. Schadt says, 
form the 'soul' of nine eclectic hunt clubs 
along portions oi the Southern flyway, and 
you get a compilation of unforgettable sto- 
ries, photographs, and recipes that inspire 
and tantiJize. This convivial, colorful book 
would be a treat any time of the year, but its 
emphasis on hospitality and the sharing of 
food, drink, and good times makes it especial- 
ly well-suited lor winter holiday gift giving. 

Lisa Buser's photographs flawlessly cap- 
ture the region's heartbreakingly lovely land- 
scapes, the misty duck blind mornings, the 
gun dogs, and the club's comfortably ap- 
pointed kitchens and great rooms where the 
decor is as individual as the stories and per- 
sonalities of the people who are lucky enough 
to inhabit them. 

I learned all about Mississippi's leg- 
endary and mysterious, secret ingredient: 
F^oover Sauce; I met the Swamp Witches, a 
duck-hunting sorority who haunt the marsh- 
es surrounding Ward Lake Fiunt Club; I was 
given access to Emma Lincoln, and Mary 



I'rances Ingram's beloved hush puppy formu- 
la; I placed Post-its alongside recipes for 
Pheasant Pot Pie, Chargrilled Oysters, Crap- 
pie Two Ways, Fireplace Duck, and Blueber- 
ry Crunch. I also became absorbed in the 
personal stories of the cooks, guides, and club 
managers, their traditions, and the ties that 
bind. Best of all, proceeds from Wild Abu n- 
d/tnce benefit nonprofit organizations sup- 
porting wildlife conservation and the arts. 

Immediately after reading Wild Abun- 
dance in its entirety, I came down with an 
acute case of hunt club envy and had to place 
a cold rag on my forehead. That kind of fever 
is hard to shake. 



k 



rf^ 



t^' 



,'^^^ 



W Find Game 



To learn more d!aowX find Game, visit 
www.HuntFishVA.com/hunting/findgame 




ACROSS 



DOWN 



2. 


Mint of genus Monordo 


1. 


Bison 


8. 


Shallow, artificial pond 


2. 


Sunfish 


10. 


Paid to use wildlife mgmt. areas 


3. 


Artificial water storage 


11. 


Paper for illegally taking 


4. 


Goal 




wildlife 


5. 


Convert hide to leather 


13. 


Red butterfly 


6. 


Boat water removal 


14. 


Nostrum, nib 


7. 


constrictor 


16. 


Deer amorous season 


9. 


Relating to night 


19. 


Surface H^G or buzz bait lure 


12. 


Spherical celestrial object 


20. 


Glowing fire cinder 


15. 


Eagle nest 


21. 


Mape tree fluid 


16. 


Trash, debris 


22. 


Light chestnut horses 


17. 


Disguised field attire 


25. 


Fishing gear 


18. 


Periods 4 times a year 


26. 


Set boat afloat 


21. 


Small stream 


27. 


Four-winged insects 


23. 


Lacking animal pigment 


29. 


Water drainage under road or 


24. 


Stripped land tract 




bridge 


28. 


Bow and arrow user 


30. 


Large celestrial night light. 


29. 


Anglers haul 


31. 


Frozen skating surface 


32. 


Deer kill 


33. 


Tributary into main body of 


34. 


Go towards 




water 


35. 


About, regarding 


36. 


Dusk time 






37. 


Attack with horns 







CROSS 



O R D 



Marlka Byrd is a freelance writer and photographer and a member of the 
Virginia Outdoor Writers Association. 



28 VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.conn 




Dedication of the newest state forest and wildlife management area, Big 
Woods, took place on September 26. The 4,400-acre WMA will be managed 
cooperatively with the VA Dept. of Forestry and The Nature Conservancy. 
Shown here at the ribbon cutting, from L to R: Sussex County Administrator 
Thomas Harris; Virginia Department of Forestry State Forester Carl Garrison; 
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Executive Director Bob Dun- 
can; Delegate Roslyn Tyler; Board of Game and Inland Fisheries member Curtis 
Colgate; Virginia Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy Michael Lipford; 
Dr. Mitchell Byrd of the Center for Conservation Biology at The College of 
William and Mary; and Brian Van Eerden, Director of the Southern Rivers 
Program of The Nature Conservancy. 



United States Postal Service 

statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation 

Publication Title: Virginia Wildlife 

Publication Number: 0042-6792 

Filing Date: 10-05-2010 

Issue Frequency: Monthly 

Number of Issues Published Annually: 12 

Annual Subscription Price: $12.95 

Complete Maihng Address: 4010 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23230 

Contact Person: Sally Mills, Editor, Telephone 804-367-0486 

Full Names of Complete Mailing Addresses of Publisher, Editor, and Managing Editor: Sally Mills: Virginia Wildlife, 

4010 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23230. 

Owner: Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, 4010 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23230 

Known Bondholders, Mortgagees, and Other Security Holders Owning or Holding 1 percent or More of Total Amount 

of Bonds, Mortgages or Other Securities: None 

Tax Status: Has Not Changed During Preceding 12 Months 

Publication Title: Virginia Wildlife 

Issue Data for Circulation Data Below: September 2011 



Extent and Nature Of Circulation 



Avg No. Copies Each Issue No. Copies of Single Issue 

During Preceding 12 Months Published Nearest to Filing Date 



Total Number of Copies 

Mailed Outside-County Paid Subscriptions 

Stated on PS Form 3541 

Mailed In-County Paid Subscriptions Stated on PS Form 3541 

Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, 

Counter Sales, and Other Non-USPS Paid Distribution 

Paid Distribution by Other Classes Through USPS 

Total Paid Distribution 

Free or Nominal Rate Outside-County Included on 

PS Form 3541 

Free or Nominal Rate In-County Included on 

PS Form 3541 

Free or Nominal Rate Copies Mailed at 

Other Classes Through USPS 

Free or Nominal Rate Distribution Outside the Mail 

Total Free or Nominal Rate Distribution 

Total Distribution 

Copies Not Distributed 

Total 

Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation 



34,587 


34,000 


31,644 


30,445 


None 


None 


None 


None 


29 


33 


31,673 


30,478 


1,919 


1,921 



14 

737 

2,670 

34,343 

244 

34,587 

92% 



10 

737 

2,668 

33,146 

854 

34,000 

92% 



BuyYour Lifetime License 
1-866-721-6911 

Report Wildlife Violations 
1-800-237-5712 



Do You Use a Wildlife 

Management Area or 

Fishing Lake? 

Effective January 1, 2012, a Facility 
Access Permit will be required when using 
any Department-owned Wildlife Man- 
agement Area or Fishing Lake. The permit 
is not required for any person holding a 
valid hunting, fishing, or trapping license 
or a current certificate of boat registration 
issued by the Department or for persons 
16 years of age or younger. The permit 
requirement does not apply to Depart- 
ment-owned boat ramps or segments of 
the Appalachian Trail on Department- 
owned land. The Facility Access Permit 
fee is $4 for a daily permit or $23 for an 
annual permit and may be purchased 
online or at any license agent. 



Cljrfettnas 



BIRD 
COUNT 




Dec.14,2011-Jan.5,2012 

ww/w.audubon.org/bird/cbc/ 



DECEfVlBER 2011 ♦ 29 



RICHMOND FISHING EXPO 

January 20-22, 2012 

Meadow Event Park 

Dos we 1 1, Va. 

Friday: 10-8 
Saturday: 9-7 
Sunday: 10-5 

Go to www.ncboatshows.com 
for more information. 



Financial Summary: 
Fiscal Year 2011 

Detailed financial information about the 

Department's revenues, expenses, and 

capital plan may be viewed here: 

wwv^.dgif.virginia.gov/about/financial- 
summary/2011/. 



THANK YOU to our amazing staff across the 
Department who assisted throughout the 
year to bring this magazine to our readers. 
Many of you helped by writing columns and 
features, by reviewing copy for accuracy, 
and by catching mistakes (before we went to 
press). The magazine staff cannot do this job 
without you. Please accept our thanks and 
appreciation for your support. 

-Sally Mills, Editor 



You Can Make a Difference 
HUNTERS FOR THE HUNGRY 



vOR r//^. 



5' 







T ; untersfor the Hungry receives donated deer from successful hunters and 
funds to cover the costs of processing, so that venison nnay be distributed 
to those in need across the state. Each $40 contribution allows another deer 
to be accepted. Hunters donating an entire deer are not required to pay any 
part of the processing fee. 

The David Home Hunger Relief Bill gives hunters the opportunity to do- 
nate $2 or more to the program when purchasing a hunting license. One hun- 
dred percent of each donation goes to providing venison to the hungry. For 
additional information or to make a donation, visit www.h4hungry.org or call 
1-800-352-HUNT (4868). Each of us can make a difference. 





^oteoTidloir 



Pick one up for yourself and others on 
your holiday gift list. Where else can 
you get such a deal, at only $10 each;' 

The 2012 calendar features stunning 
photographs and information about hunting 
seasons, favorable fishing dates and state 
records, wildlife behavior, and more! 

Send your check payable to 
"Treasurer of Virginia" to: 
Virginia Wildlife Calendar 

P.O. Box 1 1 1 04 
Richmond, VA 23230-1104 



To pay by VISA or MasterCard, you may order online at www.HuntFishVA.com 
on our secure site. Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for delivery. 



IMAGE OF THE MONTH 




Congratulations go to Patsy Phillips of St. Paul for her 
beautiful and perfectly seasonal Image of the Month 
submission! Patsy captured this photograph in Russell 
County during an evening snowstorm using a flash to 
stop the snow as it fell. Nikon D40X digital SLR camera, 
ISO 1600, l/60th, f/3.5. Happy Holidays! 



You are invited to submit one to five of your best photo- 
graphs to "Image of the Month," Virginia Wildlife Maga- 
zine, P.O. Box 11104, 4010 West Broad Street, 
Richmond, VA 23230-1104. Send original slides, super 
high-quality prints, or high-res jpeg, tiff, or raw files on 
a disk and include a self-addressed, stamped envelope or 
other shipping method for return. Also, please include 
any pertinent information regarding how and where you 
captured the image and what camera and settings you 
used, along with your phone number. We look forward to 
seeing and sharing your work with our readers. 



30 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 



Looking for a unique gift? 

Shop for the outdoors enthusiast at: 

www3.dgif.virginia.gov 




2011 Limited Edition Virginia Wildlife 
Collector's Knife 

Our customized 201 1 Collector's Knife is a Model 1 1 9 Special 
Buck knife which features a black bear. The handle is made 
from diamondwood with an aluminum guard and butt. Blade 
is 420HC steel. Knives and boxes, made in USA. 

$95.00 (plus $7.25 S&H) 



Item #VW-4n 




To Order visit the Department's website at: 

www.HuntFishVA.com or call (804) 367-2569. 

Please allow 3 to 4 weeks for delivery. 



ViRGiiNiA Wildlife 



Bound Editions 2010 

A Great Gift at $26.75 
Call (804) 367-0486 for details 




Congratulations to the Wildlife Habitat Evaluation Program team of 
Augusta County 4-H, who recently became National 4-H Champions! 
Team members are all home-schooled and have been mentored by 
two coaches as well as DGIF biologists Al Bourgeois and David Kocka. 
They studied all aspects of wildlife management and related habitats, 
including various marsh and wetland types. Pictured above, from L to 
R, Coach Doug Harpole, Meredith and Mark Persinger, Katie Fenneran, 
Trube Short, and Coach Jennifer Mercer. 



Don't miss our next special exhibit: 



Living 

l!XC>FF THE" 

Land 



Open June 4, 2011 
to January 14, 2012 

Presented by: 



NWTF 




dek 



Virginia Muieum of 
NATURAL HISTORY 



21 Starling Avenue • Martinsville, VA 24112 ■ 276-634.4141 
Visit www.vmnh.net for more information. 



DECEMBER 2011 ♦ 31 




Or Jones and I had just returned from 
a day in a duck blind, wet and cold as 
usual, hungry as usual, tired and frustrated as 
usual. "You know, training you guys requires 
a great deal oi determination. 1 can see we 
need to work on your being more steady to 
shot," he said, somewhat critically. "Did I 
ever tell you the story of working with my 
friend, Tom Diggs, and trying to teach my 
first Lab and Tom's Lab to not break at the 
sound of a shot?" he asked. 

"Many times," I think to myself but say 
nothing. I didn't have the heart to tell him 
that if he would shoot better, I wouldn't need 
a head start going after some crippled duck. 

"Tom and I took our two Labs over to a 
secluded spot on the Swift Creek Reservoir. 
He also brought along his young son, Scott. I 
am guessing Scott was between 6 and 8 years 
old and full of enthusiasm about being with 
his dad and the dogs and t;iking a walk in the 
woods. Scott was having a high adventure 
and even brought his little bow and rubber- 
tipped arrow set along. He was great ftin and 
full of ideas. While walking along an old log- 
ging road to the reservoir, Scott discovered a 
tortoise in the middle oi the road. He ran over 
and picked it up and ran to his dad to show 
him his find and asked it he could play with 
it. Tom said 'sure' and asked what Scott 
would call it. 



Without hesitation, Scott yelled, 
THUNDER' 

"I thought,'What a great name! What 
tortoise would not be proud of the name 
THUNDER!?'" 

or Jones continued, "When we got to 
the reservoir we started working on keeping 
my dog steady by throwing bumpers into 
the water for Tom's Lab to retrieve. I would 
hold the leash on my Lab and yank him 
back and yell STAY! to try to teach him that 
he did not go for a retrieve when another dog 
was sent — or unless I gave him the com- 
mand to do so. 

Tom and I were so focused on our Labs 
that we sort of left Scott to his own devices 
and imagination. Meanwhile, young Scott 
had somehow lost all his arrows and, in the 
process, THUNDER had made an escape. 
Now out oi ammunition and somewhat dis- 
appointed that THUNDER had departed 
without so much as a hirewell, Scott was 
bored and wanted something to do. His fa- 
ther solved this problem by telling Scott that 
he would be a big help if he would hold his 
dog while we threw bumpers to >ny Lab. " 

"At the time, Scott was built a lot like 
me, when I was his age," OF Jones re- 
marked. "He was thin, all legs and arms, and 
not an ounce of fat. A strong wind could 
have blown him awav! " 



It was at this moment in the story I 
looked at Of Jones's extra poundage around 
his waistline and extra chin barely hidden by a 
gray beard, and thought to myself that but- 
terflies aren't the only things that go through 
one heck of a metamorphosis! Again, I said 
nothing. 

"Tom felt very comfortable giving Scott 
this role because his Lab was better trained 
and more than likely would not break when 
we sent my dog. We stationed Scott about 30 
yards behind us, hooked twenty feet of rope 
to Tom's Lab and gave Scott the other end of 
the rope. Our only flaw in this plan was that / 
should have been the one to throw the 
bumper. 

"When Tom thtew the bumper and 
yelled 'BACK', everything happened really 
fast and yet it seemed to play out in slow mo- 
tion. Tom's dog broke! I saw Tom's dog fly by 
me, and I had just enough time to see Scott 
dig in his heels and anxiously waited at the 
end of his rope. The dog wanted the 
bumper — and Scott wanted the dog to stay 
put. The dog won. In what seemed a millisec- 
ond, Scott was launchecH into the air like a 
kite, hovered there for a moment, and then 
came sliding by me like a himian sled in an 
Iditarod race — still holding tight to the 
rope — and being dragged to the lake! His fa- 
ther scooped him tip just as he reached the 
water's edge." 

or Jones looked me in the eye and ques- 
tioned, "So you see why it is so important to 
work on a young retriever's breaking? " 

Perhaps, I mused. But I couldnt help 
but think that it was the young human who 
needed better brakes. 

Keep a leg up, 
Luke 



Luke is a black Labrador retriever who spends his 
spare time hunting up good stories with best friend 
CLirke C. Jones. You can contact Luke and CLirke at 
II <u '!( '. clarkecjones. com. 




Download the FREE DGIF Hunt Fish VA iPhone® App 
Available on the App Stores^ visit HuntFishVA.conn/app 



32 VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.com 




Photo Tips 

by Lynda Richardson 



Happy Holiday Gift Ideas! 




Yay! It's the holiday season again and I've 
been searching high and low for some 
great gift ideas to pass along to you! I figured 
if the suggestions were something that I'd 
want to receive myself (hint, hint), then these 
would also be great ideas for those special 
photographers in your life too. 

If you know a Nikon or Canon owner, 
(I'm Canon — hint, hint) checkout the Cam- 
era Lens mugs sold by Photojojo! These mugs 
look just like real lenses, and if your gift re- 
ceiver isn't too annoyed when they discover it 
isn't a real lens, they will love this mug for cof- 
fee or as an eye-catching planter. Go online 
to: www.photojojo.com, from $24— $30. 

Another great site for the unusual is 
BlueQ with their hip, earth-friendly bags and 
totes woven from 95% post-consumer mate- 
rial. Featuring images of vintage cameras, 
these cool bags are just plain fun! The camera- 
themed zipper pouches are $5.99 and shoul- 
der totes are $14.99 plus shipping. Go to: 
www.blueq.com. 



I know I've mentioned the 
Hoodman HoodLoupe 3.0 in the 
past, but if your digital photographer 
doesn't have one I know they want 
one! The HoodLoupe makes reviewing im- 
ages on an LCD in bright sunlight a million 
times easier. It covers up to a 3-inch LCD 
screen and has a lanyard and case for $79.99. 
Check out this video tor more information 
on this great product: http://hood 
manusa. com/products. asp?dept= 1017. 

Would you like to give the gift of your 
own photographs? Go to www.richmondcam 
era.com where you can download your digi- 
tal files and order prints, gallery wraps, holi- 
day cards, mouse pads, photo books, t-shirts, 
mugs, key chains, and much more! 

Another great site for utilizing photo- 
graphs is www.snaptotes.com. At Snaptotes 
you can have your images placed on well- 
made totes, messenger bags, clutch purses, 
wallets, and gym bags of various sizes and ma- 
terials. Prices range from $35— $140. 



How about a membership or sub- 
scription? There are a bunch of great pho- 
tography magazines out there, including 
industry-specific ones like Photo District 
News, which also goes by PDN. You can 
purchase a hard copy subscription of this 
monthly magazine for $65 or an online- 
only subscription for $45. PDN is an in- 
credible source of information for the 
professional photographer interested in 
all aspects of the business. Go to: 
w\ vw.pdnonline.com. 

Does your photographer use Photo- 
shop or Lightroom software? Then 




The HoodLoupe works by shading 
bright light from the LCD screen so you 
can easily review your histograms and 
images. Photos ©Lynda Richardson 



maybe a membership to NAPP, the Na- 
tional Association of Photoshop Profes- 
sionals, would be in order. NAPP is well 
known for its annual Photoshop World 
Conference & Expo and its magazine, 
Photoshop User. A membership will gain 
you access to thousands of online tutori- 
als and retail discounts. One-year mem- 
berships are $99. For more information, 
go to: www.photoshopuser.com. 

I hope that this list will help you in 
your search for the perfect gift for that 
special photographer in your life. 
HAPPY HOLIDAYS! 



DECEMBER 2011 ♦ 33 




nin 




by Ken and Mono Perrotte 



Royally Roasted Swan 



Virginia is one of only three states with a season for hunt- 
ing tundra swans. The tag for a single bird is won 
through a drawing, and only a few hundred swans are taken 
each year by Virginia hunters. Most birds are taken in the 
Chesapeake Bay's tidal tributaries. 

Swan meat defies expectations. One might think it would 
cook and taste similar to a goose, but the reality is the meat — 
especially the breast meat — looks, carves, and tastes like venison 
or beef. 

Swans are also deceiving in that the wing spread can exceed 
7 feet, but the bird's body weight is barely above that of a Cana- 
da goose. The bird is mostly feathers, light bones, and a long 
neck. Like geese and many wild turkeys, an older bird can have 
tough legs and thighs. ITiese can be slow cooked separately in 
liquid, or the bird roasted whole and then the legs sampled for 
tenderness. If they're too tough, separate them and put them in a 
crock pot with favored vegetables and some beef broth until 
they are tender. 

Another point: Hand-plucking a swan is next to impossi- 
ble. Some areas with smaller leathers may be "pluckable, " but at- 
tempting to pluck the 
whole bird is frustrating 
and, mostly, fruitless. 

Swan was a centerpiece 
dish in many medieval 
royal banquets. The cooked 
meat was often served from 
a platter placed back into 
the hollowed, careftilly 
positioned body of the 
swan. Along with a roasted 
wild boar, the ceremonial 
table setting was undoubt- 
edly lavish. 

Swans — mute swans 
anyway — were assigned 
royal status in 1 Sth-century 
England, meaning only royals could own and enjoy dining on 
them. 

So, if you want to eat like King Henry VIII, try to get and 
fill a swan tag. 

For this recipe, we roasted the whole swan in a browning 
bag. I he breasts were juicv ami tasty. Ihe legs were "chewy." 




Vi cup table salt 
1 giillon cold water 

1 swan, plucked or skinned, about 6 to 8 pounds 
Cracked black pepper 

V4 teaspoon each sage, onion powder, and garlic powder 

2 tablespoons olive oil 

1 tablespoon flour 

3 or 4 slices bacon 

2 celery stalks, chopped into 1 Vi to 2 inch sections 
6 mushrooms, cut in half 

2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped 
'A small onion, coarsely chopped 

1 bay leaf 

2 ounces dry red wine 

For the gravy 

Salt and pepper 

A dash of dry red wine or sherry 

Flour 

Brining meat is easy and adds moisture, tenderness, and 
flavor. Simply add the salt and water into a container and soak 
the meat for about 8 hours in the refrigerator. An extra-large 
freezer bag works well. 

Drain the water and pat the swan dry. Season widi pepper 
and herbs. Rub with olive oil and dust with flour to help form a 
crust and retain moisture. Drape the bacon across exposed meat. 
Place in roasting bag according to directions. The brine and the 
roasting bag will inhibit browning, but the tradeoff of tenderness 
and flavor is worth it. Add coarsely chopped vegetables, bay leaf, 
and a tablespoon of red wine. Roast according to bag directions, 
about 1 Vi to 2 hours for an average 6- to 8-pound swan. 

Remove from the oven. While the swan rests, strain drip- 
pings into a saucepan, pressing to extract as much as possible. 
Heat to a simmer and season with salt and pepper to taste. To 
increase the volume of gravy, you can add chicken or beef broth 
to the liquids. A dash of wine or shern,- adds a nice touch. Tliick- 
en with a tablespoon or two of flour, dissolved into a little water, 
whisking it in slowly to avoid lumps. Serve the swan with the 
gravy. 

A medley of vegetables, such as small red potatoes, mush- 
rooms, and pearl onions, and cherry or grape tomatoes pan- 
seared with balsamic vinegar make a good accompaniment. 
Serves 6 to 8. 



34 



VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFisfiVA.com 



Index to Virginia Wildlife 

2011 Volume 72, Numbers 1-12 



BOATING 

Big Shoes to Fill, Guess Apr., p. 33 

It's All About Choices, Guess Jul., p. 33 

Pea Soup, Guess Jun., p. 33 

Really?, Guess Aug., p. 33 

That's All I Have to Say About That!, Guess Sept., p. 33 

UnderstandingMarine Weather Forecasts, Guess May, p. 33 

CONSERVATION STEWARDSHIP 

A Call For Shark Conservation, Funk Aug., p. 21 

A Paradise That Pays For Itself, Funk Nov., p. 14 

Living With Wildlife, Santiestevan Nov., p. 22 

Play It Forward, Thornton Dec, p. 12 

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act: Its Origins and Impacts, 

Hesfer Nov., p. 5 

The Resilient Brown Pelican, Grey Aug., p. 26 

Tiny Turtle Looking for a Big Champion, Sonf/esfevon .... Apr., p. 18 

Trashing Wildlife, Booth Jul., p. 23 

Unraveling the Mystery, Sonf/esfevon Aug., p. 12 

White-Nose Syndrome Leaves a Trail of Devastation, 

Santiestevan May, p. 22 

Will Virginia's Birds Adapt?, Booth Jan., p. 13 

FISH & FISHING RELATED 

2010 Angler Hall of Fame & Anglers of the Year Jun., p. 28 

A Day On The Bay, Clarkson Jul., p. 5 

Beltway Insiders: The Trout of Fairfax County, Hesfer .... May, p. 18 

Chasing Yellow Neds, Trammell May, p. 5 

Clinch River Annointing, Honaker Jan., p. 10 

Fly Fishing for Recovery, Montgomery Oct., p. 26 

Fly Rod Chronicles, Montgomery Apr., p. 24 

Haunted, Mize Aug., p. 10 

Introducing Newcomers to Fishing, McGlade May, p. 26 

Kings of the Bay, Perrotte Aug., p. 16 

MeGusta Pescar, I Love Fishing!, Grey Jun., p. 10 

New River Cast and Blast, Clarkson Sept., p. 26 

Northern Snakehead Is Here to Stay, Montgomery Jun., p. 14 

Virginia's Family-friendly Fisheries, McGlade Jul., p. 27 

HUNTING & TRAPPING RELATED 

A Duck Hunter's Dream, Mills Jun., p. 20 

AQuestion of Ethics, Hart Sept., p. 10 

Food Plots 101: Get Started, Hart Apr., p. 5 

From Subsistence to Sport, Sodger Jan., p. 5 

From Subsistenceto Sport, Part II, Sodger Feb., p. 5 

Hunting on the Edge of Uncertainty, C/or/cson Apr, p. 30 

Hunting Through History, Byers Nov., p. 10 

Learning the Skills to Survive, Sroivn Feb., p. 14 

Sea Duckin', Clarkson Jan., p. 18 

Sport'n Dogs Go Global, Jones Nov., p. 18 

Take an Adult Squirrel Hunting, Ingram Dec, p. 16 

Where No Other Boat Will Go, Clarkson Oct., p. 18 

Whitetail Biology, Knox Oct., p. 30 

MISCELLANEOUS 

Annual Photography Contest Showcase March 

AttheHeartofVirginia Naturally, Brown Oct., p. 22 

Clearing a Path for a Scenic River, Thornton May, p. 10 

Corporate Habitat Program Reaches 10-Year Milestone, 

Heiser Apr., p 22 

Decoys as Investment, 7ones Feb., p. 24 



Incident Off the Wash Flats, McDaniel Dec, p. 20 

Into New Terrain, Ross Jan., p. 22 

Landof Solitude, S/?on^ Sept., p. 14 

Oasis in Suburbia, Montgomery Sept., p. 18 

Off The Leash, Vones Jan./Feb./Apr./May 

Sept./Oct./Nov./Dec. 

Partnerships that Work for You, IVesf Jan., p. 26 

Raccoons, Rabies, and More, Majarov Oct., p. 14 

Short Hills WMA: Where Habitat Diversity Rules, Ingram. . Nov., p. 27 

Tales From The Swans Gut, Petrocci Oct., p. 10 

The Bear Facts, 7ones Dec, p. 5 

The Clinch is a Cinch for Fun Floating, Ingram Jun., p. 24 

Wild in the City, Ramsey Dec, p. 24 

PHOTO TIPS/PHOTO ESSAYS 

A Really Good Tripod, /?/c/7ordson Feb., p. 33 

Before I Hit the Shutter I Should Ask Myself, Richardson . . Apr., p. 32 

Below the Surface, Richardson Jun., p. 32 

Eagles of the James, Richardson Jun., p. 18 

Get Control of White Balance, /?/c/?ordson Sept., p. 32 

Happy Holiday Gift Ideas!, Richardson Dec, p. 33 

Horizontal Horizons, Richardson Jan., p. 33 

Mountain Splendor, Riner Feb., p. 22 

New Categories for the Photo Contest, R/c/?ordson May, p. 32 

Odd Numbers are the Rule in Composition, Richardson . . Oct., p. 33 

Photographing Birds in Flight: The Basics, /?/c/7ordson Jul., p. 32 

Protecting Your Rights: Copyright and the Photographer, 

Richardson Nov., p. 33 

Tips for Better Fishing Pictures, /?/c/iordson Aug., p. 32 

RESOURCE MANAGEMENT/RESEARCH 

Are Eaglets Sending Signals?, Booth Sept., p. 5 

Big Cats in Virginia: The Facts Ain't Lion, Kocka & McShea . Feb., p. 18 

Hawk Watching Across Virginia, Mp/orov Sept., p. 22 

Hope Flies On, Badger Jul., p. 31 

James River Sturgeon, Vones Apr, p. 9 

Memory in Bone, Davis Feb., p. 10 

More Than a Memory, Vones Oct., p. 5 

Offering a Second Chance, Brown Jun., p. 5 

Of Grouse and Grizzled Skippers, Ingram May, p. 14 

Rappahannock River Revival, Beasley Jul., p. 14 

Saving a Mountaintop Species, Brov\/n Dec, p. 8 

Standing Up for Imperiled Fish and Wildlife, Sur/rett Jan., p. 28 

The Foot Soldiers, Hart Jul., p. 10 

Under the Arches, /Wo/oroi/ Jul., p. 18 

What is the Red Knot Telling Us?, Booth Apr., p. 14 

WILD FOOD 

Confit of Upland Game Bird, Perrotte May, p. 34 

Eastern Shore Fare, Badger Aug., p. 5 

Grilled Cobia, Perrotte Jun., p. 34 

Hearty Venison Soup, Perrotte Jan., p. 34 

Moose Noses and Road Kill-Must Be April, Perrotte Apr, p. 34 

Skewered, Sauteed, and Seared-Doves are a Treat, 

Perrotte Sept., p. 34 

Super Bowl Party Fare, Perrotte Feb., p. 34 

Venison Barbeque Baked Beans, Perrotte Nov., p. 34 

Venison Wellington, Perrotte Oct., p. 34 

Virginia's State Saltwater Fish Two Ways, Perrotte Jul., p. 34 

WildTurkey Enchiladas with Salsa Verde, Perrotte Aug., p. 34 

Royally Roast Swan, Perrotte Dec, p. 34 



DECEMBER 2011 ♦ 35 



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